This issue talks about the killer application in the 5G era: cloud robots.
What are the limitations of current robots?
Based on a 2012 paper published by Nanyang Technological University of Singapore at IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), I briefly summarized the three main limitations faced by robots:
- Resource constraints — that is, the robot is limited by its size, shape, power source, motion patterns, and operating environment.
- Information and learning limitations — the amount of information a robot can access and learn is limited by its processing power, storage space, and the number and type of sensors it carries.
- Communication limitations — High latency in the transmission of information due to communication protocols, network signal limitations.
How can we break through these limitations and further develop the potential of robots? This brings us to today’s protagonist — cloud robotics.
What is a cloud robot?
Cloud robots use cloud computing, cloud storage and other cloud technologies and network communication resources. When connected to the cloud, robots can rely on the powerful computing power and storage of the cloud data centres to process and share information, which greatly reduces the cost of robots while improving their “intelligence”.
Cloud robots are to be synchronized in real time and always online.
What is the market outlook for cloud robots？
According to Mordor Intelligence, the global cloud robotics market is valued at USD 4.177 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 14.599 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 23.2% during the forecast period (2021–2026). An important factor behind the strong growth is the increasing adoption of cloud-based services for robotics by offloading computing and information sharing.
The market for cloud robots is relatively fragmented. In May 2019, IBM announced partnerships with certain European companies including Volkswagen, Moovster and Vinturas to redefine the future of its automotive industry through hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence. The partnership focuses on personalized digital services in and around the vehicle.
During the same period Microsoft and Sony announced that the two companies will collaborate on new innovations to enhance the customer experience for their direct-to-consumer entertainment platforms and AI solutions. The two companies are planning to explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective gaming and content streaming services.
Cloud robotics are growing rapidly in Asia Pacific, particularly in China, India, Japan and Singapore. China is the largest spender on public clouds in the Asia Pacific. The local IaaS market is the preferred choice for SMBs to build IT resources in areas such as gaming, video, and mobile Internet. The growing demand for advanced automotive manufacturing is also driving the development of cloud robotics.
Which is the world’s leading cloud-based robotics company?
Founded in 2015, CloudMinds Technology is a global pioneer of cloud robots. Other big companies like Amazon didn’t set up their cloud robotics division until 2019.
CloudMinds Technology combines AI, 5G and cloud computing to produce AI-driven robots. These robots are interconnected through a cloud-based network system for real-time data collection and sharing. CloudMinds was favoured by Japan’s SoftBank in the seed round. CloudMinds Technology has a wide variety of robots, including Cloud Pepper service robots, security robots, security patrol robots, and globally controlled grasping robots. Revenue streams include cloud solutions, smart devices and service robots.
CloudMinds Technology once filed a prospectus with the US SEC in July 2019, ready to go public in the US. But in 2020, it was listed on the Entity List by the US Department of Commerce, making the attempt for an overseas listing a failure.
In response to the sudden “entity list”, CloudMinds Technology quickly adjusted its corporate strategic layout to focus on the Chinese market. In 2020, CloudMinds Technology helped prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, and delivered the first Makeshift (Fang Cang) hospital in China in just 6 days, and delivered robots for 80+ medical institutions and customers in Beijing, Shandong, Sichuan, Guangxi and other places.
On March 29, 2022 this year, CloudMinds Technology provided dozens of cloud service robots including Cloud Ginger Lite, a 5G indoor multi-functional cloud robot, and Cloud Ginger, a 5G cloud service robot, for the Makeshift (Fang Cang) hospitals at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre to provide services such as consultation, food delivery and medicine delivery.
Who founded CloudMinds Technology?
Mr. Bill Huang is an outstanding talent in the field of global communications. In 2016, he was awarded the 2016 IEEE CQR Chairman Award by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Prior to founding CloudMinds, he was the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of UTStarcom, where he developed the world’s first carrier-grade streaming media switching and IPTV system, and invented “Xiaolingtong”, which greatly promoted the development of wireless mobile terminals in China.
After leaving in 2006, he served as the President of China Mobile Communications Research Institute. During that period, Mr. Huang led and pioneered the strategic concept of building the next-generation mobile internet network, application and terminal infrastructure for operators, and promoted TD-LTE to become the international mainstream standard of B3G.
In 2015, Mr. Huang judged that “intelligent service robots represented by cloud robots are the killer application in the 5G era and the third computer for human beings. They will surpass the mobile phone and automobile industry and become the largest industry in the digital era.”
In pursuit of his own ideals, he established CloudMinds and led the team to develop and operate a variety of cloud robots based on the HARIX operating system. The company has thousands of patents. It has realized the architecture of “cloud robot” (“cloud brain + safety net + robot”), and formed a shared and symbiotic cloud robot industry. Mr. Huang is known as the father of cloud robotics.
What’s new at CloudMinds
On April 16, 2022, CloudMinds and Huawei reached an agreement to jointly build a solution for cloud robot city operations, provide robot intelligence services and empower the smart city industry.
In addition, the two parties will further strengthen cooperation in new infrastructure areas such as 5G, artificial intelligence and industrial internet, and promote the deep integration of basic technology systems. They will explore the integration of 5G with robotics and industrial internet and other innovative applications, and jointly promote the development and growth of artificial intelligence and cloud robotics industry.
CloudMinds has successfully built “HaiRui”, the cloud brain operating system for robots, and “HaiYuan World”, the virtual development platform for robots — the metaverse of robots. This is a cloud-based robot digital twin world that is closely connected to the real world and updated in real time, covering the whole world. It can be expanded infinitely and combined with the virtual world and the real world to provide a one-stop, all-round HARIX RDK robot application development and training environment. Haiyuan World involves smart cities, smart parks, smart factories, smart agriculture, smart elderly care and other industries and various life application scenarios.
The entire robotics industry has evolved from “functional” to “intelligent”. Here is Mr. Huang’s judgment on the future of the robotics industry:
“In the future, cloud robotics is gonna be the killer application for 5G. And 5G networks will provide a 100 times bigger network compared to Who’s going to use that bandwidth? Robots.
Robots will be a family nanny. Robots will be a retail salesperson.
Robots will be your best companion of the future.”
An era of cloud robots with AI and 5G is coming. Looking to the future, the robotics industry will increasingly make up for the global labour shortage, help humans complete various repetitive, dirty, dangerous, and undignified jobs, and bring infinite possibilities for our work and life in every aspect.